Walter Sawadsky studied scriptwriting at Vancouver Film School where he completed his first feature-length script The Sylvia Hotel. He is the co-writer and Associate-Producer of the short film The Timekeeper, which was chosen for the “Coup de Coeur” at Cannes in 2015. The film also won the 2015 Leo Award for best acting performance in a short film. Walter is the co-writer of The Christmas Calendar, a movie of the week that aired on television in the U.S. and Canada in 2017. In the 2018, the film received 8 Leo Awards nominations including Best Television Movie and Screenwriting.
Did the retreat meet your expectations?
The retreat exceeded my expectations. The gift of time couple with a scenic and serene location allowed the mind and body to be relaxed, focused and productive.
What was the most unexpected part of your stay?
The incredible view. It was very conducive to the reflect part of the writing process.
What was the most enjoyable aspect of your retreat?
The energy I felt for my work.
Did the vineyard setting inspire you and/or your writing? In what ways?
Living in a natural setting for a week reminded me how strongly the context of surroundings influences our relationships with others.
What did you work on during the retreat?
I mapped out the characters arc for a TV mini series (historical drama) and I did the final proof on a feature film script, which is now in the hands of producers.
What other activities did you do during the retreat—any napping, hiking, or exploring the local area?
I kept a regular schedule and wrote 7-8 hours a day. I would usually take a break mid-day for a walk or a nap. Time went by so fast that I was always surprised when evening came. Visited a couple of local wineries and also the towns of Oliver and Penticton.
Did you participate in any activities or events arranged by the host winery? If so please elaborate.
Enjoyed the tasting room and ate at their fabulous restaurant, once for lunch, twice for dinner.
Any tips or advice you think might be helpful for future residency applicants?
Have a writing plan, stick to it but don’t over do it. If, after a week you are more tired than when you arrived, you missed the point of the retreat. Besides, one rarely does their best work when their exhausted.
If your retreat was a co-residency do you have any advice or tips for future applicants that wish to apply and work together?
I attended the retreat with Cookie Boyle. We worked on our own projects but spent one day on a co-project.
Any other comments, impressions, and surprises about the retreat you wish to convey?
Gratitude. The retreat was a gift that continues to pay dividends.